My story – Food adventures of Thanis Lim
It’s been a long journey for this food blog. I started out writing this blog as a cooking journal to share recipes and cooking tips for friends while I was studying in Australia. I must admit I began my journey as a foodie with humble beginnings – relying a lot on cooking magazines and websites for my food adventures. Blessed with a good mix of multicultural friends, I had the exposure to different types of cooking techniques and ingredients readily available in Australia.
After I graduated and moved back to Brunei, my cooking style had to adapt to use more locally available ingredients, allowing me the creative motivation to combine and fuse culinary boundaries. The root of my cooking lies in using the freshest available local produce from Borneo and incorporating them into my cooking using East versus West cooking techniques. My fascination with cooking shows and food science, watching and reading about great chefs such as Heston, Thomas Keller and David Chang, as well as reality TV series like Iron Chef, Master Chef and Top Chef, inspired me a great deal. It was this period in which I experienced the most growth as a foodie, constantly experimenting with new ideas in my kitchen – the Thanis Kitchen.
A big change in my blogging style in Brunei was when I started to do restaurant reviews, which became an integral part of my blog. Informing the public on where to eat and what to eat became a passion of mine. This was during the blogging boom in Brunei, bloggers became popular figures in Brunei, but I wasn’t one of them – I was enjoying my blogging – behind the spotlight.
These two guys made a very big impact in my blogging life. Geek In White, Marul, inspired and introduced me to a lot of the other bloggers. It kick started the initial networking to give a push to my journey as a foodie. Dinoza, another great social media individual from Sabah, also gave me a lot of inspiration and we have a lot of mutual respect for each other. I worked with Dinoza for many years for Breeze Magazine which is an important part of my life as a food journalist.
Fadillah is another man I really respect, as both Bunny and him are very talented foodies as well, creating many recipes, delicious and beautifully presented! He has also organized many foodie events and challenges in Brunei – which I’ve participated, enjoyed and won a few of them.
An invitation to cook in his kitchen was a big honour and motivated me a lot as a foodie. For this dinner, I cooked olive oil poached seafood, sous vide eggs with miso butter and asparagus, chicken satay pizza, Nyonya Dry Curry Pasta, Thai Style Marinara and finished up with Chocolate Lava Cake and White Chocolate Almonds and Marshmallow Pizza.
One of the fun bake sales at his place~~ which I cooked these Japanese Style Marinated Octopus Tempura on a stick, as well as tasting portions of my fusion pastas. They were all sold out that day!
Selling Pasta during fairs can be a fun experience for me – when I was invited to sell my pastas at a few of the collective art events in 2014– they sold out within an hour to 90 minutes. The Four Kings of Thanis Kitchen. Blue Cheese Walnut and Spinach, Nyonya Dry Curry Tuna, Thai Style Marinara featuring the 6 hour roasted tomatoes and the Golden Salted Yolks Baby Mussels Carbonara. I’ve received very good feedback and I look forward to doing more in the future!
I have won four cooking challenges to date. One of them was during a special event to support breast cancer awareness in Brunei. Foodies baked tons of desserts for this event – and I have to admit – a lot of yummy desserts were consumed that day ~~ I won it with my chocolate lava cake with shaved white chocolate and kuih sapit, served with vanilla ice cream, while also doing a live demonstration in the kitchen.
Pasta has always been my favourite dish to cook; in all three other challenges, my pastas always come out in the top three. My fusion pastas such as Nyonya Dry Curry Pasta came first in my very first cooking challenge, much to my surprise, while the Kuching Laksa Pesto Pasta, came first in my second challenge and my Thai Style Marinara came third. The most memorable was my final challenge, in which my Golden Salted Yolks Carbonara won second place while my Sour Plum Vinegar Lamb Stew won me a ticket to Melbourne, the first prize! I have to thank Fadillah and Reedah (anakbrunei) for giving me the chance and motivation in these cooking challenges. They are a big inspiration and catalyst to what I have achieved today and I thank them deeply from the bottom of my heart, and stomach.
Being a judge in National Cooking Competitions was another experience for me as well. I had the pleasure of working with Chef Salvo, from Sorisso, which I dare to say is one of the best restaurants in Brunei. It was a great experience for me as a food blogger. I also judged the Healthy Campaign for Laneige Brunei, tasting creative healthy Korean themed food!
Writing for Breeze, a Sabah based magazine - covering news from Sabah, Kuching and Brunei, was an important part of my life as a foodie. It encourages me to constantly seek out new recipes as their food editor. I’ve been regularly contributing to the magazine for almost five years now! I’ve watched the magazine grow together with Dinoza.
Above are some shots from Breeze magazine, where they do short introductions about me and what recipe I will be writing about that particular issue.
I have also written a few articles on restaurants for BIG (Borneo Insiders Guide) Magazine – a magazine based in Brunei. It was a good experience working with Pauline, whose a very good editor and a fellow food lover as well. Recently I was featured in their Hari Raya Issue in 2014, contributing my special fusion pasta – the Belutak Carbonara.
My two full-page featured recipe for Happenings Magazine, a lifestyle magazine based in Kuching – the healthy muffin recipe – is this possible? Do grab a copy when you visit Kuching!
I’ve seen myself in the National papers for winning cooking challenges or being involved in charity activities but I never thought I would ever be featured! Brunei Times reporter Aliyah interviewed me and I was very surprised to be featured in a three full page spread. A very big surprise for me as I did not expect much from the interview, probably expecting a small column where nobody would see! An online version of the article can be read here!
Update: My recent feature article in Brunei Times
Writing for Brunei’s pioneering food website Love Food Hate Waste was also an important part of my foodie life. For three weeks during the month of Ramadhan, Rano, Kurapak and I actively checked out restaurants every day, taking pictures, enjoying the food and churning out mouth watering reviews of Sungkai Buffets. It was a great two years and I’ve enjoyed my time with them but I had to leave as I needed to focus on my blog, and I could not commit to the busy daily article deadlines during Ramadhan.
I really love this Super Bloggers Tshirt designed by Kurapak – comprising of Brunei’s popular bloggers. It really shows how much fun we had and the Tshirt proceeds were donated to charity. A good fund raising event! Can you spot me at the bottom right? Rawr!!! Cookie Monster !!
Being invited as a guest speaker for Borneo Bloggers 2.0 was another milestone for me. It was a good opportunity to share social media knowledge as well as establishing a lot of new friendships and connections – with Nuffnang representatives, top bloggers of KK and even filmmakers such as Jared and Moses – very inspiring!
Being invited by AirAsia and TuneHotels to attend their media and bloggers bash was another exciting journey for me as a blogger – as I get to meet celebrities, prominent media and bloggers from around the world!
TuneHotels KLIA2 Pyjamas Party: Click to read more
At the AirAsia Red Party in KL ~ Can you spot me? Click to read more
I was chosen as the first blogger to be in the Royal Brunei Blogger Program was another important milestone in my life as a food blogger, where I was flown business class to Melbourne to write about the food scene. This picture taken with the excellent three hat restaurant Vue De Monde kitchen professionals will always be a special moment for me. Thanks Royal Brunei Airlines! Read more about the best restaurants in Melbourne: Click here!
Cooking with Chef Norman Musa at the Kuala Lumpur Big Kitchen Food Festival 2015 when I was one of the invited social influencers by Malaysia Airlines.
Meeting celebrity chefs Florence Tan and Chef Wan were exciting times for me at the KL Big Kitchen and I look forward to more! Thanks Malaysia Airlines!
Being featured in Lonely Planet as the blog to check out for restaurants and food in Brunei was also an honour for me. My friend spotted this book while shopping in KL and snap some pictures to show me. Thank you Lonely Planet! It really meant a lot to be featured in such a prestigious guide!
The influx of visitors from Google is another big moment for my blog. I’ve devoted my blog to help travelers hunt for food, writing good guides such as my Penang, Hat Yai, Brunei and Sabah food guides! I was very surprised when my friends told me Google searches for Brunei food, Best Penang Food and Best Hat Yai Food, showed me coming out as the top website in all three categories! As a food blogger, it is an important milestone for me and is a very big reward for all the effort and hard work put into my blog. It has also generated a lot of international visitors to my blog – as well as local visitors – about a few thousand viewers per day! I hope to write more travel guides in the near future. Stay tuned for Manila and Kuching updates!
Grabbing the top spot for “Kuching food” in Google? Feels good to be appreciated! Thanks Google!
Update: A more recent update – My Kota Kinabalu Food Guide is ranked behind the two blogs run by top KK blogger on third and fourth for “KK Food”
Look at whose number 3 on Google search for “Manila Food Guide”
My recent Bangkok Food Guide went viral and was shared more than 12 thousand times on Facebook and received 70 thousand views within one week! A very important achievement for me!
Thanks to the post – I guess it’s a matter of time before it get’s picked up by Google. Top search for both “Bangkok Food Guide” and “Must Eat Bangkok”!
Here’s also a screen shot of my average monthly hits for my website. over 90 000 per month is not much but I am very happy with that achievement – and hope to hit 150 000 per month in the near future.
Update: I actually surpassed my initial target of 150 000 views and hit 202 988 views per month! Really happy with this achievement! Wonder what will be the amount of views in my next record high month?
Celebrity Chef moment: Picture of me with Bobby Chinn during his book signing session in Brunei. I wonder if I would publish my own cook book one day?
Dinoza, my great social media buddy in Sabah. Looking forward to more foodie hunts in Kota Kinabalu.
During my birthday (Uniform Theme Party) with great friends who had been supporting me all these years. Lily, Sim Yuan and Denise.
My first commercial ~~ LOL ~~
So that’s my foodie story. A long journey, filled with challenges and fun moments. I currently also have a talk show with Pilihan FM every Saturday at 10:30 AM. It’s in Mandarin and it will be on travelling, eating and cooking. Be prepared to get hungry and laugh at my terrible Mandarin!
Listen to me at 10:30 AM every Saturday!
For the latest news on restaurants and dining scene in Brunei – Please follow my Instagram account @thanislim
It would be great if you can follow me @thanislim on instagram where I post micro updates of my food adventures on a daily basis! Catch the latest food updates with me via social media! Or you can add me in twitter @thanislim or Thanis Lim at Google +
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